Integrating health literacy into a theory-based drug-use prevention program: a quasi-experimental study among junior high students in Taiwan

Li Chen Lin, Chiu Mieh Huang, Hsiao Pei Hsu, Jung Yu Liao, Cheng Yu Lin, Jong Long Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: In Taiwan, illegal drug use is a critical health problem during adolescence. Schools playa vital role in preventing students’ illegal drug use. Accordingly, we developed and evaluated a school-based, drug-use prevention program integrating the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and health literacy for junior high school students. Aim: This study aimed to use a theory-based program to prevent students from illegal drug use in Taiwanese junior high school students. Methods: We recruited 648 junior high school students aged around 13–14 years (grades 7 to 8 students) from 14 selected schools: N = 323 in the experimental group, N = 325 in the comparison group. The experimental group received 10 45-min sessions of a theory-based drug-use prevention program. The comparison group received traditional didactic teaching and drug refusal skill training. We used a generalized estimating equation (GEE) to analyze data. Results: Results of paired t-tests indicated that drug-use health literacy and TPB-related variables improved in the experimental group. The GEE analyses indicated that participants in the experimental group also demonstrated significantly improved health literacy (p < 0.001) compared to the comparison group, especially for functional (p < 0.001) and critical health literacy (p = 0.017). The experimental group also showed significant post-intervention improvement in terms of subjective norm scores (p = 0.024). Conclusion: Study results demonstrated the effectiveness of a drug-use prevention program on health literacy and subjective norm through integrating the Theory of Planned Behavior and health literacy. The study supports that the future implementation of similar programs for junior high school students can integrate health literacy and subjective norms as two critical program components.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1768
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • Adolescents
  • Drug-use prevention; theory of planned behavior
  • Health literacy
  • School-based intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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